District 2-4 Class 6A baseball championship capsule preview
No. 1 Hazleton (17-3) vs. No. 2 Williamsport
(16-4) at PNC Field, Moosic, 4 p.m.
Williamsport’s road to the playoffs: Williamsport defeated No. 3 Delaware Valley, 2-1, in semifinals
Williamsport facts: The Millionaires are playing in their third straight final and seeking their third straight championship. Williamsport has not won three straight district championships in the 2000s and will be trying to leave quite a mark on program history. Williamsport edged Hazleton, 4-3, in last season’s final, holding off a late Hazleton rally. Seven starters graduated from that team that reached the state quarterfinals, but Williamsport has come a long way this season, winning 12 of its last 13 games. Kyle Caringi threw a four-hit complete-game and struck out nine in Friday’s semifinal win, while Brayton Rowello hit a big two-out, two-run single that put Williamsport, 2-0. Caringi cannot throw today due to pitch-count rules but Williamsport has basically utilized two aces all season and likely will go to Jon Zayas. The junior left-hander is 6-1 with a 1.81 ERA, striking out 51 in 38 2/3 innings. Riley Hilner also could be called upon and is 2-1 with a 2.38 ERA. Williamsport has had some big offensive games and is hitting a collective .342. Caringi has delivered six straight multi-hit games and went 2 for 3 against Delaware Valley. He is one of six starters hitting above .300 and Joe Fagnano has hit four home runs. Eight players have driven in at least 10 runs with freshman Dallas Griess totaling 18. Griess also has hit six doubles and can make things happen on the bases.
Hazleton’s road to the playoffs: Hazleton defeated No. 4 West Scranton, 5-3, in semifinals
Hazleton facts: These two teams are pretty similar and both are playing well at the right time. Hazleton has won six straight games and rallied from a 3-2 fourth-inning deficit to beat West Scranton. The Cougars have several quality wins, including against State College, Dallas and Abington Heights. They have played well in close games and are 3-0 in extra-inning games, winning all three during a four-game stretch late in the season. Frank DeGaetano and Brady Antolick both have pitched well, combining for 10 wins. DeGaetano earned the win in relief Friday, throwing 3 1/3 innings of one-hit baseball and striking out five. Antolick started and allowed four hits in 3 2/3 innings while striking out five. Both threw against Williamsport in last year’s final with DeGaetano taking the loss, allowing seven hits in four innings and striking out four. Antolick worked a perfect inning in relief and struck out one. DeGaetano is 5-2 with a 1.36 ERA and Antolick 5-0 with a 1.96 ERA. DeGaetano also is hitting .365 with five doubles and 16 RBIs. Alex Amentler went 2 for 4 with an RBI against West Scranton and is hitting .439 with 14 RBIs. Luke Book went 2 for 3 with an RBI in Friday’s win and Gavin McGowan is hitting .333 with six doubles and 10 RBIs. Matt Shamany and Bryce Molinaro also are having good seasons, hitting .455 and .389, respectively. Hazleton has made a five-win improvement this season after making a four-win jump the previous year.
Winner plays: District 1’s fourth-place finisher in Monday’s state tournament. District 1’s semifinals will be played Tuesday.